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You all know what it means by “six degrees of separation,” right? Well, put that out of your minds because it’s not what we’re talking about. And here you thought you were so smart!

For anyone who has been reading the nonsense that I write for any length of time you know that I like to build things. Reduce, reuse, recycle. In that respect I am very much like my dad. I use scraps of whatever I have on hand when I design things.

My project at hand is redesigning the bedroom of my nephew. One of the challenges is that he has a basement bedroom and it happens to be the room where the electrical boxes are so there have been wires run through the ceiling. Some of them run properly, others just run along the edge of the joists. This makes it so that I can’t drywall a real ceiling for him. But I want him to have something other than floor joists to look at as he lays awake in bed at night staring at the ceiling. He’s an Eagle Scout and loves the great outdoors, but he also has a deep love for all things motorized. So I’m doing an eclectic mix of shiny metal and natural wood. I really hope it comes together in reality like I have it pictured in my brain.

SO. Part of what I’m doing for his room includes building ceiling panels that will hang from the joists, creating some interest in an otherwise unfinished space. I have a bunch of spare lumber from a storage shed that we emptied out last spring  and I need frames with inserts, which means that I needed to manipulate perfectly good studs.

I cut half way up height and another cut half way up the width (give or take a few centimeters).

The boards are eight feet long so it got a little tricky, but I managed.

I pulled out the cutout part to give me the insert area that I will need.

This is where it got fun. This is where I lowered the blade on my table saw and grabbed my miter saw. The table saw makes a great work bench when I’m using my miter saw. I flipped the arm of the miter saw around to 45 degrees so that I could begin assembling the frame. I finished my two foot end pieces and my four foot side pieces and went to lay it out on the back patio to admire my work.

Just as I’m feeling good about the progress I find myself saying, “Why the hell doesn’t 45 degrees make a nice rectangle?” I’m staring at the frame and the corners are not meeting and it is very clear that the angles were not 45 degrees.  I walked back into the shop and looked at the miter saw and it was on the 45. I’m cursing. I’m drumming my fingers. I’m wondering aloud how on earth the corners aren’t square when I was clearly cutting at a 45 degree angle. I checked the knob that tightens the arm into place and it was secure. I was truly befuddled. Then I untightened the knob to move the arm and get a better look. Wouldn’t you know it? The arm goes two degrees past the 45 degree mark!!!!! GAH! I just whipped that arm into the 45 degree spot (the last option available when you’re swinging the arm) and tightened it down. So, so, so stupid!!! Such a careless mistake! Two degrees makes for a very disturbed looking box!

I was so mad at myself as I shaved off the corners to get my true 45 degree angle. Do you know what this means going forward? The insert that I will buy is eight feet. Had the boxes been done correctly to begin with I would have cut the insert directly in half. Now I have to make three cuts to accomodate for my mistake!!  THREE cuts. And not convenient cuts with a table saw. But hand made cuts with tin snips!!! Just shoot me now!! The only bright side to this is that I wanted to admire my work so I put the frame together on the patio after I got the first one done instead of whiz-banging through all eight panels before realizing my mistake. So if we’re going to look at the silver lining, that would have to be it! Argh! So stupid!

Anyway…..here is the first panel. Not nailed/glued together yet, and without the insert, and without the paint. What? I just started my project. I’m not anywhere near showing you the finished product yet.

Stupid, shortened frame!

There is still a lot of work to be done. I’m sure this will not be my only mistake! Now, pardon me while I go kick my ass one more time!

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